Ryan Songalia

Jaro disputes Igarashi loss, looks towards Mthalane

MANILA – Just a week removed from losing his world title in his opponent’s backyard in Japan, former RING flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro was all smiles on Saturday night as he took in the fights at Elorde Sports Complex in Paranaque City, Philippines.

Jaro (34-11-5, 24 knockouts) of Binangonan, Philippines had lost a split-decision to mandatory challenger Toshiyuki Igarashi (16-1-1, 10 KOs) in Winghat, Japan over the weekend, ceding the RING and WBC flyweight belts in his first defense after knocking out long-time champ Pongsaklek Wonjongkam earlier this year. Despite bruising underneath his left eye and minor puffiness above his right eye from a cut caused by a headbutt, Jaro insists he won the match

“We did not knock the guy out so we lost. I accept it,” said Jaro, 30, now rated number three by THE RING at 112 pounds. “From the very beginning, I told myself, ‘If we will not knock this guy out, even if I’m ahead, we will lose.’ I accept it.”

After a slow start, the harder-punching Jaro began to land his bigger shots in the middle rounds, trading punches back and forth with the quicker Igarashi. Late in the fight it appeared that Jaro was wearing Igarashi, 28, down, but the close verdict went to the hometown fighter. All three judges and the referee were neutral officials, yet Jaro’s manager/trainer Aljoe Jaro took exception with Korean judge Kyung-Ha Shin, who was working in his first male world title bout. Shin scored the fight 115-113 for Igarashi, the closest margin of all three judges.

“He won the fight of course,” said Aljoe Jaro, who as a professional boxer once held future WBC super flyweight titleholder Jose Luis Bueno to a draw in Japan. “I’m very disappointed with the decision.”

Aljoe Jaro says that he doesn’t think Igarashi or his promoter Mr. Akihiko Honda will entertain a rematch with Jaro and has now turned his attentions to IBF titleholder Moruti Mthalane. Mthalane (28-2, 19 KOs) of Johannesburg, South Africa is rated number 4 by THE RING and has defended his belt three times since winning it in 2009.

Aljoe Jaro says they have reached out to Mthalane’s promoter Branco Milenkovic, but the South African promoter says he hasn’t heard from Jaro’s camp yet.

“We were very interested in Jaro when he had WBC title in order to do a unification, but now he no longer holds the title,” Milenkovic told THE RING. “However, we will consider serious offers from any challenger.”

Mthalane is due to face mandatory challenger Ricardo “El Matematico” Nunez (24-2, 20 KOs) of Panama in September, after which Milenkovic says “we will take it from there.”

Meanwhile, another boxing figure in the ballroom, Gerry Penalosa, was also hoping to get his charge a second chance.

Michael Farenas (34-3-4, 26 KOs), the super featherweight contender whom the retired former world champion Penalosa promotes, was held to a technical draw on the Jaro-Igarashi undercard in his vie for the WBA super featherweight title against THE RING’s number 1 ranked contender at 130 pounds Takashi Uchiyama (18-0-1, 15 KOs). Farenas appeared to win the first two stanzas, landing first from his southpaw stance as Uchiyama struggled to find his rhythm. The styles meshed perfectly for head clashes however, and the ending left Penalosa bitter but optimistic.

“I’m very disappointed because I saw we were winning and the referee stopped the fight,” said Penalosa. “I don’t know if it was the referee or the doctor who stopped the fight, that’s why I’m upset.

“We’re willing to fight anybody in our division, we’re just one call away. But now I know that Farenas belongs on the world class level.”



Photo / Ryan Songalia

Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel. He can be reached at songaliaboxing@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.

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